Many Western leaders continue to blather about Vladimir Putin as an evil tyrant. I want to share with you a couple of videos that present a different perspective. First up is Putin talking to students on the first day of school in Russia. He shares memories based on letters from his grandfather (I don’t know if it was paternal or maternal). Most Americans ignored the commemoration of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Truth be told, very few Americans died in World War II compared to what Russia experienced. Only a tiny percentage of Americans have an ancestor who died at Pearl Harbor.
Putin’s remarks in this video are a reminder that almost every family in Russia experienced the loss of a loved one in World War II. That is why millions of Russians march every May carrying photos of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents who served or died in the “Great Patriotic War.”
Next up, a much younger version of Putin. He spoke 22 years ago in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. Russia, at the time, also faced a domestic Islamic insurgency in Chechnya. That war, which started in 1999, lasted ten years. Remember the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing? Yep. They were Chechens.
Putin was willing to stand with America in fighting Islamic extremists in 2001. I pray we will see a time when American and Russia can work as friends in trying to ensure peace in the world.